ABC News’ Gio Benitez reports:
New York’s posh Oheka Castle, home to fairytale weddings, is now the scene of what police are calling an assassination attempt, sparking an intense manhunt.
A mysterious gunman wearing a black mask ambushed the Huntington, N.Y., castle’s owner in broad daylight around 12:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, shooting Gary Melius, 69, in the face as he walked to his Mercedes in the valet parking lot.
Miraculously he survived after his daughter rushed him to the hospital.
“It doesn’t appear to be an accidental shooting at this time,” said Suffolk County Detective Sgt. John O’Sullivan.
Now, as investigators search the 109,000 square-foot palace for clues, the question remains: Who would try to kill the prominent, politically-connected developer?
“No one could think of anyone who would want to kill Gary,” friend of the victim Steven Schlesinger told ABC News.
Melius bought the castle in the 1980s for $1.5 million, spending more than $30 million restoring it.
“Well I always thought it could be restored,” Melius told Long Island News Tonight in 2009. “I didn’t think how big a job it was going to be to restore.”
Once the nation’s second-largest private home, the castle has been seen on the TV show, “Royal Pains,” celebrities including Kevin Jonas used it for weddings and former President Bill Clinton even officiated the wedding of disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner there.
It is also a high-end hotel so exclusive suites go for more than $1,000 per night.
Police still don’t know why Melius, who is now recovering in the hospital, was targeted. But the shooting was apparently caught on surveillance cameras and they are focused on finding that masked gunman.